Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cue Mama Blood Boil - Yes My Son Has Autism

About a week ago I took my two sons to a celebration for a local company. They had a small bounce house, food vendors, arts and crafts, and even a snow cone truck. My sons were in heaven.

But I will tell you as soon as Sage saw the bounce house, it was on. And I had to drag him out an hour later.

Sage is almost 4, and he has Autism. If the diagnosis of Aspergers still existed, he would be diagnosed with that, but it doesn't, so we're "on the spectrum." I say "we're" because if you know a family with a child with Autism, you know it affects the whole family. His social skills are at about the 3-year-old level, and his language skills are getting much better - when he started school in August they were well below the 2-year-old range, and now we can have a conversation (even while it is generally scripted and repetitive).

That morning I really didn't know if going to this celebration was a good idea or a bad idea. Traveling with Sage can be...surprising? That's putting it nicely. I never know what's going to happen - if he's going to have fun and tell me, "I happy Mama!" or if he's going to meltdown and turn whatever get-together we're at into a screaming mess.

So I don't go out. Most weekends we stay home because...I don't know. And you may be thinking, "Well, let him try." And I totally get that. But the aftermath of a Bad Day lasts for days, makes his anxiety shoot through the roof, and sends me looking for Xanax. Or wine. Or both. My husband reacts with frustration to Sage's meltdowns, and I end up trying to mediate and console them both.


Anyway. That Saturday I had had enough of being in the house, the boys were getting on each others' nerves, and that was getting on my nerves, so we got dressed and went to the park. We parked it for about 30 minutes until Silas (6) told me, "I wish there were more kids. This is no fun." Totally true dude. I get you. We were alone at the park. I decided to head to this celebration and see what happened.

On the way over there I told Silas where we were going and that I was HOPING that Sage would have fun - but he knew the drill if Sage was melting down, hurting himself, or started hitting/lashing out to others. And he does. This has become our reality.

Bounce house. Right.

We get to the celebration, park, say hello to the owners, and the boys are in the bounce house. There are volunteers at all of the stations helping the kids. The woman at the bounce house was good with directing the boys (there was literally 6 boys in the house at once, all jumping into each other in a big pile of boy madness). At one point Sage started coming out and going back in like this was a game.


"That's OK," she told me, "I've worked with adults like him before. It's repetitive."

What you got lady?

Apparently she used to work with adults with developmental delays and disabilities. She said she recognized right away that Sage was different and that he had high functioning Autism. She asked me some questions and then told me

"Don't worry, as an adult he'll be able to live on his own and have a job like at the grocery store. It will be good for him."

I'm sorry, what?

Now, side bar. I have nothing against adults who work at grocery stores, adults with developmental delays, anything like that.

But to tell the parent of any 3-year-old that eventually he will be able to live on his own (I certainly hope so!) and hold down a minimum wage job is like...I don't even know what to compare it to.

Or maybe he can be a physicist.

You're saying at age 3 you can predict that my child, ANY CHILD, will be able to do service work of minimal cognitive effort for a career?

So...I kind of went off on her. "Oh, I certainly hope that he'll be able to go to college and find his dream career, but I doubt it will be at a grocery store. Unless he's managing it. He's very good at keeping everyone on schedule. Do you watch The Big Bang Theory? I imagine him as similar to Sheldon as an adult. And he's what, a physicist?"

Then I went and sat down while Silas went to the art table and Sage kept jumping.

Oh I forgot, you know one kid with a developmental delay, you know them all. And adults too. My bad.

1 comment:

  1. Ian IS going to college! Take THAT grocery store lady!